Super alluring dream for Elon Musk and a ‘super app’

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FOr Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter to make it work, Musk must find some way to make the company bigger. Its business is long-form compared to the presence of platforms in culture and politics.

As a model, Mask has set at least some spectacular features in the original so-called “super app” WeChat, which is owned by China-based Tencent. In a meeting with Twitter staff at Musk’s first town hall meeting last week, he referred directly to WeChat, indicating that something like this would further his broader goal of taking the number of Twitter users to about 1 billion. “There is no WeChat equivalent outside of China,” he told the meeting. “There is a real opportunity to create it.”

Much of what Mask has to say may seem bizarre. (At the meeting, he also discussed the possibility of alien life.) However, his thoughts on WeChat are not, although it is not particularly novel. The success of WeChat has driven many Silicon Valley moguls; Musk is only the latest. As a group, they have envied WeChat’s broad business model — messaging, social media, payments — and lack of reliance on advertising revenue, and the turbulent revenue stream for most of their business. Yet they find it demonically difficult to create an American version of a super app.

“A super app is an app where you can do a lot of different things, even if they don’t seem to be very closely related to each other,” said Yuchen Zhao, a partner at GSR Ventures. “It’s all about everyday consumer behavior and everyday consumer life.”

Back In 2011, Tencent was already an internet powerhouse, founded 15 years ago by billionaire pony mother. But with user behavior changing and shifting to mobile phones, a portion of software like Tencent’s popular desktop-based messaging app, AOL Instant Messenger, has become obsolete. Alan Zhang, a Tencent developer, has come up with the idea for a simple mobile chat app that brings together many of Tencent’s businesses.

Zhang seems to be coming up with something out there today A dreamer, And WeChat has more than 1 billion users, making it the size of TikTok and Instagram (although it remains half the size of WhatsApp). At a basic level, WeChat provides audio and video calls and one-to-one text messages, as well as the ability to create group threads of up to 500 people.

“I first downloaded WeChat in 2013. I was studying at Harvard, and I met my then-girlfriend-now wife, who told me about it,” Zhao recalls. “We started texting each other about it. Then I got my parents, and I realized, ‘Oh, my God … for the first time, we can actually communicate with the family. And when I went to work in Beijing from 2016 to 2018, I really got to know the system quite well. ”

WeChat’s system extends far beyond communication. WeChat has exposed itself to outside developers and is filled with mini-apps, attracting more than 1 million to 200 million daily users. These apps and others, developed by WeChat, like PayPal-SQ WeChat Pay, connect every aspect of Chinese life through QR codes: driving a cab, buying groceries, seeing a doctor, buying insurance. WeChat collects revenue through advertising and collects a portion of the money flowing through its app.

(It is noteworthy that, in short, Tradeoff adopts WeChat. It is a commercial victory, but it must go hand in hand with Chinese censors. The app follows strict government rules, part of what is popularly called “The Great Firewall”. ” A barrier between Internet users and foreign websites সালে In 2020, President Trump proposed banning WeChat with TikTok, how the two companies handle data and express concern about their need to meet the needs of their government thinkers. The presence of TikTok in the United States surpasses that of WeChat. The effectiveness of WeChat is largely limited to China.

Twitter’s rivals have already tried to gain some of WeChat’s glory. In 2019, Mark Zuckerberg said he would shift some of Facebook’s attention away from the public to private messaging, a clear recognition that what WeChat does works well. Evan Spiegel, meanwhile, has left the door open on Snapchat, encouraging developers to contribute to items like augmented-reality filters, a move similar to WeChat by encouraging mini-apps.

S.o Why isn’t Facebook or Snap already a super app? Essentially, U.S. companies have struggled to integrate the payment segment of WeChat’s ecosystem into their own. They have tried, and the will remains. Facebook has tried and failed a cryptocurrency, Project Libra, but Spoken Working to add other virtual coins and loan services. Last year, Pinterest considered selling itself to PayPal for $ 45 billion, a deal based on the same mentality. And Instagram has created great hay from its expanded shopping tools, including the ability to check out directly through its app. Again, the same mentality: pay, media, messaging.

There may be a common factor that keeps them all from achieving super app status. The United States has lagged significantly behind China in accepting mobile payments. More 80% of adults Using mobile payments in China. In America, the figure is probably Less than a third. So even if Instagram, Facebook and Snap have attractive payment features, they will still face weak demand for mobile payments, which is not a small part of the rise of WeChat.

Jack Dorsey, who runs Twitter twice, must have realized the supposed promise of a super app. After all, in his second term as Twitter CEO, he was simultaneously the chief executive of the company block behind Square and CashApp. Arguably, this pair of efforts gave him a greater chance of fusing a super app together than any of his rivals could enjoy. He never did. Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation

Now, here comes Musk, who has spent a good three decades thinking about digital payments, as well as lunar orbits and solar batteries. (In Musk’s first performance, he co-founded PayPal.) That’s something. And perhaps Dorsey had access to existing fintech infrastructure that would not mask. But Mask has something that Dorsey didn’t do, perhaps more importantly: fire to make Twitter bigger.

Of course, Dorsey planned to grow Twitter. But they were driven, at least in part, by pressure from another outside shareholder, Elliott Management. And even after Elliott forced Dorsey to crank it up, Dorsey’s plans were much smaller orders than Mask’s proposal. Dorsey forecasts 7.5 billion in sales by next year; There is musk Spoken About 30 30 billion is projected by 2028. Twitter alone is unlikely to reach $ 30 billion through advertising alone, especially since the economy seems to be heading for a recession, which is never a good result for the advertising business. (Additionally, changes to Apple’s software have caused long-term problems that have made mobile ads less profitable for the time being.)

Of course, there is a potential downside to a super app, noted Scott Kennedy, trustee chair in Chinese business and economics at the Beltway Think Tank Center for Strategic and Intelligence Studies. Although this is not relevant to the breakdown of Chinese capitalism.

If Mask shuts down what the rest of Silicon Valley couldn’t do and gets its super app, it will be a big commercial operation. Yes! Just tell me what Musk wants. Yes, big good. Unless, of course, it is.

Kennedy said: “One of the criticisms of WeChat is its monopoly power. “We already have such concerns about Facebook, Apple and others. I think a super app would fall into the trap of distrust and competition in the United States. “



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